Why I do what I do
It was the Autumn of 2018 and I was invited to speak at an international gathering of indigenous grandmothers. It was a unity event of the four directions with people of all ages and cultures.
As each woman in the circle shared their story, I witnessed as non-indigenous women shared stories of feeling lost and disconnected from the land, and that they never had the same spiritual connection that first nations people carry strongly within their being. As I listened, I understood why I was called to speak that morning. Spirit doesn’t discriminate, people do. We too often compare ourselves to others and grieve for what we don’t have. Sometimes, we just need the courage and willingness to value what we do have and cultivate more meaning in that.
So, there I was sitting cross-legged on the ground on the banks of the Murray River amongst 40-50 powerful women. It was time for me to step into my own power. The closer it came to my turn to speak, the more the anxiety swept through my body. As a cool breeze softened the heat of the midday sun, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and dove my hand into the cool sand beside me. The earth felt grounding and I prayed for guidance in the words I was about to speak. This was the first time I was to speak publically since I was 10 years old.
My voice crackled and changed as I navigated a new experience of speaking unaided, unpolished and completely unprepared. I knew I had something important to say, only I had no idea what that was… until I started speaking. I was told afterwards that two eagle hawk flew in and circled overhead as I spoke. That was all the confirmation I needed.
I have always been called toward social justice and being a voice for vulnerable and oppressed populations. Except, I kept myself hidden away from fear of being the centre of attention, fear of being criticised, fear of being seen. And then one day in May after returning from the gathering, I listened to the CEO of Destiny Rescue speak: “Anytime I feel afraid of getting up on stage in front of a room of people, I only need to think about the girls who have been trafficked into sex slavery. My fear is nothing compared to theirs.”
Now at the age of 43, I have emerged from my own life experiences of poverty, trauma, motherhood, the loss of a child, and the unmasking of ‘identity’ to be able to reflect on it all with a deep sense of gratitude, purpose and knowing. I have learned to embrace the sacredness in death, forgive the unforgivable and understand the true meaning of unconditional love. It wasn’t easy, but it was profound. To transcend those experiences, having received the blessings and teachings, is a beautiful gift that every person has the ability to cultivate.
My sole purpose is to work toward global healing and equality through education, connection and appreciation of our individual uniqueness.
With my corporate background and commitment to cultural change and inclusion, I work to help leaders give life to their heart-centred intentions and human rights obligations.
Jennifer Faulkner is a non-practising lawyer, human rights advocate and organisational consultant. Her writing has been published in journals both in Australia and the United States.
She is undertaking her Master’s Degree in Human Rights Law through Monash University, advocates for social justice and walks Grandmother Law with her sister and mentor, Wakka Cubi senior elder Garminungeena (aka Aunty Jenny Thompson).
She dreams of living in France, even for a short time, and travelling around the world to learn about different cultures and ways of living in harmony.
You are welcome to speak with Jennifer about her experiences more intimately or engage her for a workshop or event. Please get in touch via our contact page.